By Becky Bohrer | Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker suspended his re-election bid Friday, three days after the sudden resignation of his lieutenant governor over what Walker described as an inappropriate overture toward a woman.
Walker’s announcement, made during the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage, was met with gasps.
Walker, the only independent governor in the country, took swipes at Republican rival Mike Dunleavy and did not explicitly endorse Democrat Mark Begich. But he said Begich’s stand on important issues more closely aligned with Walker’s priorities.
Walker’s campaign was rocked Tuesday by the resignation of Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, a Democrat who was replaced by former state health commissioner Valerie Davidson.
Throughout the campaign, some Democrats and independents worried that Walker and Begich would split the vote, giving the election to Dunleavy. Walker was elected in 2014 with Democratic support.
Walker campaign manager John-Henry Heckendorn earlier this week said Walker and Begich had been in talks about a “path forward for Alaska” but would not elaborate. On Thursday, Begich and Walker had sought to downplay any suggestions of a potential deal between them ahead of the Nov. 6 election.
Mallott, in a resignation letter, apologized for “inappropriate comments I made that placed a person whom I respect and revere in a position of vulnerability.”
Walker spokesman Austin Baird said the incident that led to Mallott’s resignation happened Sunday. Walker said he learned of it Monday. Few details have been released because Walker said he is honoring the wishes of the woman involved.
The partnership of Walker and Mallott — and blurring of partisan lines — was a central theme of their administration and of their campaign. Walker said he considers Mallott his closest friend and “soul mate.”
In 2014, Walker and Mallott were each running for governor, trying to unseat Republican Gov. Sean Parnell. …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Politics